It’s crazy to think that heading into Week 6, the fantasy football season is nearly halfway over. Most playoffs begin in Week 14, and we are nearly six weeks into the season. Some fantasy football owners are pretty happy with their team, their start/sit decisions and their records. Others are trying to trade (some more successfully than others).
By Week 6, many players are forced to miss time due to injury. This often creates the opportunity for others to step up. Some teams are changing their focus, becoming more of a running vs. passing offense, while others are seeing what the different players on their roster have to offer.
Please note 5 Up/5 Down is a guide on players that should exceed or fall below their rank this week. This is based on past performance, injury status and matchup. This is not a start/sit column, but rather a guide. You also can see how my Week 5 calls turned out at the bottom.
Teams on bye: Detroit, New Orleans
Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winston makes his first start of the season and he gets to face the Atlanta Falcons. Besides Nick Foles in Week 1, the four quarterbacks that faced the Falcons have all thrown for three touchdowns. Winston has a great cast of pass catchers and he should find the same success with them that Ryan Fitzpatrick had earlier in the season. He’s ranked No. 9 but he easily could finish in the top five.
Nyheim Hines, RB, Indianapolis Colts
With 29 receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns on the season, Hines is a great PPR option. He’s ranked No. 31 for Week 6, but especially in PPR formats, he should finish higher than that. While it’s not clear if Marlon Mack will play or not, Hines will still be the passing down back for the Colts. Andrew Luck looks for him and against the Jets, he should have plenty of opportunities to catch the ball with Jack Doyle and T.Y. Hilton likely out.
Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago Bears
Spoiler alert: Jordan Howard is in 5 Down. Cohen is ranked No. 38, and in PPR leagues, he should be higher than that. Cohen is the back that the Bears trusted in Week 4. Mitchell Trubisky needs someone that he can dump the ball off to and that guy is Cohen. In Week 4, he had eight targets. He caught seven of them for 121 yards and a touchdown. The Bears found a formula that worked; odds are that they aren’t going to turn away from it.
Chester Rogers, WR, Indianapolis Colts
It appears that T.Y. Hilton will miss another week with a hamstring injury. When Hilton was out in Week 5, Rogers saw 11 targets. That was second only to Eric Ebron. Rogers ended the game with eight receptions for 66 yards. He is an interesting option in PPR leagues while Hilton is out. As long as Hilton doesn’t play, Rogers is a low WR3 in PPR formats. He’s ranked No. 72 but he will easily crack the top 50.
Niles Paul, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars
While Paul is certainly not a must-start tight end, he should finish higher than his No. 29 ranking. The Jaguars placed Austin Seferian-Jenkins on injured reserve, leaving the position open for Paul. Blake Bortles targeted him nine times in Week 5 and he caught seven of those passes for 65 yards. If he continues getting that many targets, he will have value. While the Jaguars do spread the ball around, he’s worth considering adding in deeper leagues.
Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
The Cleveland Browns have played surprisingly tough defense so far this season. They allow the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, and they have only allowed seven TD passes this season (inexplicably that includes four to Derek Carr). The Browns have eight interceptions on the season and this game is in Cleveland (West Coast team traveling east). It’s a tough spot for Rivers, and he may not reach his No. 13 ranking.
Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears scored 48 points in Week 4 and Howard only had 11 carries for 25 yards. The team was winning (by a lot), which game script should call for a running back to do some clock-killing, yet the Bears turned to Tarik Cohen. Howard wasn't injured, he wasn’t being punished, he just wasn’t in the game. While it’s possible that during the bye week the Bears realized that Howard should be more involved, it’s also possible that this has turned into a committee. Either way, Howard’s fantasy arrow is pointing down. He’s ranked No. 12 but should finish lower than that.
Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers
Jones is the 21st-ranked running back for Week 6, but fantasy owners should be wary of starting him. Week 5 was the perfect opportunity for him to get going. The Packers faced the Lions and were without two of their top three receivers. Yet, Jones still only had seven carries. He added two receptions for a total of 59 yards from scrimmage. Jamaal Williams isn’t exactly the preferred back, but he’s cutting into Jones’ workload enough that it hurts both of their value.
Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Based on name alone, Baldwin is still 87 percent owned and ranked No. 26 for Week 6. Based on production, he should be on waiver wires everywhere. In two games, he has six receptions for 42 yards, including one reception for one yard in Week 5. The Seahawks have been running the ball more than passing it, and when they do pass, Tyler Lockett has been the most productive receiver.
Trey Burton, TE, Chicago Bears
Even though Burton has found the end zone twice so far this year, and the Bears are using him in the red zone, the matchup for Week 6 is a tough one. He’s ranked No. 9 this week, but the Miami Dolphins allow the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends (and they’ve faced Jared Cook, Rob Gronkowski and Delanie Walker). Given the tight end landscape, Burton will likely be started, but fantasy owners are hoping for a touchdown (which Miami has not allowed to a TE yet this season).
Full Disclosure from Week 5:
5 Up (3/5 correct)
Alex Smith, QB, Washington Redskins (Ranked: 16, Actual: 22)
Javorius "Buck" Allen, RB, Baltimore Ravens (Ranked: 37, Actual: 30)
Mike Davis, RB, Seattle Seahawks (Ranked: 46, Actual: 17)
Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons (Ranked: 25, Actual: not top 50)
Geoff Swaim, TE, Dallas Cowboys (Ranked: 22, Actual: 15)
5 Down (3/5 correct)
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs (Ranked: 8, Actual: 17)
Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (Ranked: 9, Actual: 15)
Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, New York Giants (Ranked: 5, Actual: 1)
Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans (Ranked: 21, Actual: not top 50)
David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns (Ranked: 10, Actual: 10)
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.